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Steele to co-operate with you against Shreveport, and I will have his answer in time, for you cannot do anything until Red River has twelve feet of water on the rapids at Alexandria. That will be from March till June; I have lived on Red River and know somewhat of the phases of that stream. Yet, notwithstanding Sherman's warning him that the rise will not take place before March or perhaps June, and the Admiral's repeated asseverations to that effect. Banks pushes on the expedition in April, when the river was falling four inches per day. The following is an extract of a letter from General Halleck to General Banks, dated February 2, 1864: I enclose a copy of a communication from Admiral Porter which shows the condition of Red River and the Atchafalaya. From this it would appear that some delay would occur before any extensive operations can be carried on in that quarter. Suffice to say, all Admiral Porter's letters recommended that no attempt should be made via Red
mpel him to alter his plans as often as Halleck did. Why the Sabine Pass expedition failed does not appear; but most of Banks' expeditions failed, and there is little on record from General Banks to account for these failures. While Halleck in one letter professes to leave Banks at liberty to act as he pleases, in the next holds him fast by making suggestions, which from a superior officer are equivalent to positive commands. The only sensible dispatch from General Halleck is one dated January 4, 1864, in which, after urging the Red River project, he says: So long as your plans are not positively decided upon, no definite instructions can be given to Sherman and Steele. The best thing, it would seem, to be done under the circumstances is for you to communicate with them and also with Admiral Porter in regard to some general co-operation all agree upon; what is the best plan of operations if the stage of water in the river and other circumstances should be favorable. If not,
e movement on account of bad roads and guerillas, and prefers to remain on the defensive line of the Arkansas. I have replied that he should co-operate with Banks and Sherman, unless you direct otherwise. His objections on account of guerillas threatening his rear will apply equally to an advance at any time into the enemy's country. On the 15th of March, General Halleck, as chief-of-staff, telegraphed to General Grant as follows: A dispatch just received from General Banks, dated March 6. He expects to effect a junction with Sherman's forces (Smith's Division) on Red River, on the 17th. He desires that positive orders be sent to Steele to move in conjunction with them for Red River, with all his available force. Sherman and Banks are of opinion that Steele can do much more than make a demonstration, as he last proposed. A telegram from you might decide him. After reading the above dispatches, we are forced to the conclusion that Generals Halleck and Banks are respon
in Texas--positions which, under instructions from the President and subsequently from Lieutenant-General Grant, were not to be abandoned — at New Orleans and at Port Hudson, which was threatened by a vigorous and active enemy. Smaller garrisons at Baton Rouge and Donaldson ville on the river, and at Pensacola and Key West on the coast, constituted the balance of forces under my command, It had been arranged that the troops concentrated at Franklin should move for the Red River on the 7th of March, to meet the forces of General Sherman at Alexandria on the 17th. But, for causes stated by General Franklin, their march was delayed until the 13th, at which time the advance, under General A. L Lee, left Franklin, the whole column following soon after and arriving at Alexandria, the cavalry on the 19th, and the infantry on the 25th. On the 13th of March, 1864, one division of the 16th corps, under Brigadier-General Mower, and one division of the 17th corps, under Brigadier-General T
April 29th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 44
acted before our eyes. We all saw an immense amount of bagging and roping upon the steamer Black Hawk (General Banks' headquarters boat) when it arrived at Alexandria, and it was then said it was for cotton. And during our occupancy of Alexandria on our retreat, I myself saw steamers loaded with cotton and sent down the river under the protection of the hospital flag, and Lieutenant Pannes (ordnance officer on General Smith's staff) sends me the following extract from his diary: April 29, 1864.--Cotton is being loaded on the boats by General Banks' order. Even the hospital boat Superior is used for that purpose; went out with Captain Burns to convince myself of that fact. May 1.--The three cotton boats returned, having been fired into. In a letter written by Colonel Shaw, who was at this time with his brigade at Governor Moore's plantation, he says: The ostensible purpose of occupying this position was the securing of forage, but as scarcely any was procured and s
January 11th (search for this): chapter 44
as given official publication and sanction, is attributed to the request of General Banks, who deemed the co-operation of the gun-boats so essential to success, that he (Porter) had to run some risks and make unusual exertions to get them over the Falls. This implies that the responsibility of his action rests upon the Army; but it is not consistent with the facts. The co-operation of the Navy was an indispensable condition and basis of the expedition. Major-General Halleck informed me, January 11, that he had been assured by the Navy Department that Admiral Porter would be prepared to co-operate with the Army in its movements; and the Admiral himself informed me, February 26, that he was prepared to ascend Red River with a large fleet of gun-boats, and to co-operate with the Army at any time when the water was high enough. The fleet was as necessary to the campaign as the Army. Had it been left to my discretion, I should have reluctantly undertaken, in a campaign requiring but ei
March 17th (search for this): chapter 44
ers. There is so much misrepresentation in regard to the events in which the Navy took part, as narrated by General Banks, that one is naturally disposed to doubt the truth of the whole report. Banks blames General Franklin for not reaching Alexandria sooner, but the latter shows that he was not to blame, as he only received the order to advance from the town of Franklin on the 12th of March. Banks informed General Franklin that he had promised to meet the Admiral in Alexandria on the 17th of March, and as the latter place is 175 miles from the town of Franklin, of course it was impossible to fulfill this promise. Besides, on the 10th of March only 3,000 of the troops which were to form that arm of the expedition were on the ground--the remainder had just arrived from Texas and were at Berwick Bay without transportation, and the cavalry had not arrived from New Orleans. Franklin started on the 13th, and his advance-guard reached Alexandria on the 25th, the rear-guard and pontoo
March 12th (search for this): chapter 44
ents the reasons for his failure, he did not hesitate to misstate the facts in order to throw the blame on others. There is so much misrepresentation in regard to the events in which the Navy took part, as narrated by General Banks, that one is naturally disposed to doubt the truth of the whole report. Banks blames General Franklin for not reaching Alexandria sooner, but the latter shows that he was not to blame, as he only received the order to advance from the town of Franklin on the 12th of March. Banks informed General Franklin that he had promised to meet the Admiral in Alexandria on the 17th of March, and as the latter place is 175 miles from the town of Franklin, of course it was impossible to fulfill this promise. Besides, on the 10th of March only 3,000 of the troops which were to form that arm of the expedition were on the ground--the remainder had just arrived from Texas and were at Berwick Bay without transportation, and the cavalry had not arrived from New Orleans.
April 25th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 44
force. It was the Admiral's duty to make the report he did to the Secretary of the Navy, but he stated the case in much milder terms, as regarded General Banks, than did the army officers who served under him, in their evidence before the Committee on the Conduct of the War. We insert one letter from General Kilby Smith which corroborates everything that has been said in regard to Banks leaving the Eastport at the mercy of the enemy: Headquarters Division 17Th Army Corps, Cotile, April 25th, 1864. Admiral: Arrived at this pointlast night. General Banks and army are on the march to Alexandria. We brought up the rear and skirmished all the way. General Banks fought at the crossing of Cane River; not much loss on either side. [Note--General Banks speaks of this as most desperate fighting.] Our fight in the rear was sharp. General A. J. Smith's command is ordered peremptorily to Alexandria; troops are now on the march. You will find the enemy some 2,000 strong on the opposit
March 15th (search for this): chapter 44
rman with 10,000, move from Alexandria on Shreveport, and wish him to co-operate. He says he can go with 7,000 effective men, but objects to the movement on account of bad roads and guerillas, and prefers to remain on the defensive line of the Arkansas. I have replied that he should co-operate with Banks and Sherman, unless you direct otherwise. His objections on account of guerillas threatening his rear will apply equally to an advance at any time into the enemy's country. On the 15th of March, General Halleck, as chief-of-staff, telegraphed to General Grant as follows: A dispatch just received from General Banks, dated March 6. He expects to effect a junction with Sherman's forces (Smith's Division) on Red River, on the 17th. He desires that positive orders be sent to Steele to move in conjunction with them for Red River, with all his available force. Sherman and Banks are of opinion that Steele can do much more than make a demonstration, as he last proposed. A telegr
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